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Full text of "Indoor gardening : artificial lighting, terrariums, hanging baskets, and plant selection"

Indoor 
Gardening 




Artificial Lighting, 
Terrariums, 
Hanging Baskets, 
and Plant Selection 

\%-. ;;:^V 



x^^ UNITED STATES 
fn ^ ci\ DEPARTMENT OF 
AGRICULTURE 



HOME AND 
GARDEN BULLETIN 
NUMBER 220 



PREPARED BY 
AGRICULTURAL 
RESEARCH 
SERVICE 



CONTENTS 

Personal plants 3 

Types of indoor gardens 4 

Planter box 6 

Lighting systems 8 

Selecting a location 22 

Stocking the garden 22 

Plant guide 23 

Plant designations 24 

Setting the plants 24 

Care of the garden 33 

Training plants 33 

Conditioned plants 34 

General care 37 

Watering 37 

Fertilizing 40 

Special gardening 40 

Terrariums 40 

Hanging baskets 43 

Plants for the beginner 45 

Other care 46 

Other uses 46 

Air layering 47 



This publication supersedes Home and Garden 
Bulletin No. 187, "Indoor Gardens With Con- 
trolled Lighting", issued May 1971. 



Washington, D.C. Issued February 1978 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Goverrunent Printing Office 
Washington, D.C. 20402 

Stock No. 001-000-03758-7 



!*•• 



INDOOR GARDENING 

Artificial Lighting, Terrariums, 
Hanging Baskets, and Plant Selection 



Prepared by Henry M. Cathey, ARS Research Horticulturist' 
and Lowell E. Campbell, ARS Agricultural Engineer^ 



PERSONAL PLANTS 

You can grow and display many 
kinds of decorative house plants in 
your home by using an indoor 
garden. People are realizing that 
house plants — displayed in planters 
equipped primarily with fluorescent 
lamps — are an attractive asset and a 
constantly changing decoration for 
any space in the home. Much of this 
popularity has been due to the pro- 
duction, distribution, and varieties of 
house plants that have been made 
available to the consumer. 

Most house plants are grown com- 
mercially under a protective covering 
in artificial growing media and fed 



'Florist and Nursery Crops Laboratory, 
Plant Genetics and Germplasm Institute, Belt- 
sville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, 
Md. 20705. 

^Agricultural Equipment Laboratory, Envi- 
ronmental Quality Institute, Beltsville Agricul- 
tural Research Center, Beltsville, Md. 20705. 



regularly with fertilizers. Care is 
taken to see that plant diseases and 
insect pests are controlled. A major 
aim of the plant industry is to 
broaden the range of plants — their 
foliage and their flowering — which 
can be grown successfully. They have 
worked to develop easy-to-under- 
stand care instructions for handling 
the plants and to encourage the 
installation of lighting facilities suit- 
able for showing, acclimatizing, and 
growing them. 

This accomplishment is made pos- 
sible by cooperation between many 
specialists. Florists must work with 
engineers and lighting designers to 
build the facilities for highlighting 
and maintaining the plants. Interior 
designers and architects must mix 
plants aesthetically with other fur- 
nishings. Growers and indoor gar- 
deners must select both the plants 
and the watering techniques to insure 
the continued success of the plants. 



TYPES OF INDOOR 
GARDENS 

Most house plants require light to 
survive in indoor locations. If natural 
light in the living space is unsufficient 
to help maintain the plants then arti- 
ficial light must be used. 

To grow plants satisfactorily in an 
indoor garden one must remember 
to— 

• Water the plants thoroughly, but 
only often enough to prevent wilting. 

• Fertilize the plants every 2 to 4 
weeks while they are actively 
growing. 

• Illuminate the plants with fluo- 
rescent lamps 12 to 16 hours daily. 

Fluorescent lamps have allowed 
house plants to thrive in indoor gar- 
dens — plants that barely existed 
indoors before the development of 
such light sources. These lamps have 
many benefits: they give uniform illu- 
mination and emit a minimum 
amount of heat into the air, they are 
available in a variety of shapes and 
sizes, and they give the proper envi- 
ronment for propagation of plants by 
root cuttings, air layering, or seed- 
lings. Whether the location has some 
daylight, or little or no dayhght, fluo- 
rescent lamps provide the proper illu- 
mination. (For details see p. 8.) 

To determine whether adequate 
light exists in a location, it is neces- 
sary to use a light meter especially 
designed for measuring artificial 
lighting. For this, and other light 
measurement details, see p. 18. 

Plans for 11 types of indoor gar- 
dens are shown in this bulletin. 
Anyone who can use woodworking 
tools should be able to construct an 
indoor garden by following these gen- 
eral plans. 

• PLAN A is for a garden about 4 



feet long and 12 to 18 inches deep. 
This long, narrow garden is most 
useful in a dimly lighted corridor. It 
will brighten as well as decorate the 
corridor. This version of the indoor 
garden may also be used as a room 
divider. (See illustration on p. 5.) 

• PLAN B is for a free-standing, 
round garden 14 to 18 inches in 
diameter and 2 feet tall. It is used for 
showing the flowers and foliage of 
one or several potted plants. (See 
illustrations on pp. 6, 7.) 

• PLAN C is for a table garden 
about 3 feet tall, 2 feet long, and 1 
foot deep. This garden can be placed 
on almost any surface or hung on the 
wall. It will light as well as decorate 
and is designed for displaying small 
plants such as African violets. (See 
illustrations on pp. 8, 9.) 

• PLAN D is for a wall garden 
about 7 feet high and 4 feet wide. The 
garden can be placed on any open, wall 
space and gives the appearance of a 
window. It allows the attractive 
display of hanging vines and potted 
plants. (See illustrations pp. 10, II.) 

• PLAN E is for a free-standing 
light shell 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. 
This garden permits the display of 
growing plants in various size con- 
tainers and is suitable in halls, foyers, 
kitchens, or playrooms. (See illustra- 
tions on pp. 18, 19.) 

• PLAN F is for a tall, narrow 
garden 6 feet tall and 2 feet square. It 
has movable shelves and permits 
starting and growing many small 
plants. (See illustrations on pp. 
22, 23.) 

• PLAN G is a triangular planter 
used for lighting plants of different 
heights and diameters. This garden 
consists of one U-shaped fluorescent 
lamp 22 inches tall mounted on a tri- 
angular-shaped platform that is 12 




PN-5260 
Corridor or foyer garden (Plan A) is most useful in a dimly lighted corridor. It can also be 

employed as a room divider. 



inches wide. (See illustrations on 
pp. 24, 25.) 

• PLAN H, an angular table 
planter, is for lighting a long plat- 
form, 4 feet long, mounted with two 
U-shaped fluorescent lamps, and 
backed by plexiglass mirrors each 
measuring approximately 30 x 10 x 
28 inches with a folding panel. The 
mirror increases the light intensity 
available to the plants. The folding 
panel permits the hanging of vines on 
the front of the garden. (See illustra- 
tion p. 32.) 



• PLAN I, an office planter, is for 
lighting a restricted area of plants. 

This is accomplished by placing two 
U-shaped lamps on the two ends of a 
three-sided box 30 x 10 x 28 inches. 
The sides of the box are covered with 
transparent plastic and the back of 
the box is covered with a mirror to 
reflect light. The top of the box is 
open to permit larger plants to be 
placed in the area. (See illustration 
on p. 33.) 

• PLAN J is for a "window-on- 
the-wall" type of planter made from a 




PN-5261 
A free-standing, round garden (Plan B) is used 
for sliowing the flowers and foliage of one 
or several plants growing in pots. 



2x2 foot ceiling fixture, turned on 
its side, with an 8-inch shelf mounted 
on the front. The two U-shap'ed fluo- 
rescent lamps are covered with a 
translucent plastic panel. The fixture 
may be mounted on the wall to allow 
space for growth plants in the home. 
(See illustrations on pp. 34, 35.) 

• PLAN K, "a garden center", is a 
freestanding gardening area com- 



bining side lighting from U-shaped 
fluorescent lamps and mirrors to pro- 
vide uniform illumination. Ballasts 
and time clock are hidden underneath 
the lighting area behind a folding 
panel. Space is also provided for gar- 
dening aids such as extra containers, 
growing media, fertilizers, and other 
items. (See illustrations on pp. 
36, 37.) 



Planter Box 

Outer Surfaces 

The planter box can be made of 
soft pine or fir plywood painted to 
match the walls in the room where it 
will be used, or it can be made of 
veneered plywood stained or oiled to 
match the furniture with which it will 
be displayed. Many kinds of wood 
and wood finishes are available that 
are suitable for planters. 

Also, the planter box can be cov- 
ered with one of the following fire- 
resistant surfaces: 

• Indoor-outdoor carpet. 

• Plastic film that comes in many 
colors and has a mirrorlike finish. 

• Coverings with adhesive 
backing. They come in woodlike and 
metalike finishes and in patterns of 
mod flowers, which give almost 
unlimited design possibilities. 

• Laminated plastic used for 
kitchen-counter tops. 

Inner Surfaces 

Inside the planter is a watertight 
liner. This liner is best made of gal- 
vanized sheet metal painted with 
asphalt to retard rusting. For a tem- 
porary liner, two layers of poly- 
ethylene may be stapled inside the 
planter. 



GRILLE 
DETAIL 

ooo o o o ooo 

OSO§Oo 

ooooooooo 
0°oO°o 




V2" CORK BASE 



Plan B.— Free-standing garden for pot plants. 




PN-5262 
Table garden (Plan C) can be placed on any surface or hung on a wall. It is ideal for displaying 
small plants such as African violets. 



Mobility 

The planter box is mounted on a 
platform equipped with casters. 
Carpet casters are available. The 
entire unit can be moved easily; 
floors and carpets around it can be 
cleaned; plants in the garden can be 
reached easily for care and replace- 
ment; and the contents of the room — 
garden as well as furniture — can be 
rearranged easily. 



Lighting Systems 

Fluorescent Lamps 

Fluorescent lamps are most widely 
used for lighting indoor plants. Stan- 
dard 40-watt lamps produce enough 
light for plants with medium or low- 
light requirements. (See the table "Il- 
lumination In Foot-Candles At Var- 
ious Distances From Cool White Or 
Warm White Fluorescent Lamps" on 



8 



1/8" HARDBOARD 



WHITE PLASTIC 
DIFFUSER 







TIMER 



OUTER 

DIAMETER 

20" 






DECORATIVE 
METAL SHADE 



y 



INNER 
DIAMETER 

121/2" 

CIRCULAR 
LAMP 



GALVANIZED 
METAL LINER 




BALLAST 



1"x30" 
STRAP IRON 



BASE 



Plan C— Table garden to display small plants. 



256-376 O - 78 




PN-5263 

Wall garden (Plan D) makes possible an attractive display of hanging vines. Potted plants can be 
placed at the base of this indoor garden. 



10 



p. 14.) High light requirements may 
indicate the use of 1500 MA^ - type 
fluorescents. 

The color of lamps used is a com- 
promise between cost, efficiency, 
esthetics, and color rendering of the 
plants. As an aid to both the amateur 
and professional interior designer the 
table "Color Rendering of Plants, 



'Lamp current in milliamperes. 



People, and Furnishings" is supplied 
on p. 12. 

Most plants will do well with ade- 
quate visible radiation from any fluo- 
rescent lamp except yellow and red. 
The power consumed is the same for 
all lamps of equal wattage. Incan- 
descent lamps are seldom satisfactory 
except for spotlighting displays or 
flowers. (See the table "Relative 
Light and Visible Radiation of 40- 
Watt Fluorescent Lamps" on p. 15.) 




Wall garden (Plan D) can display both hanging vines and potted plants. 



11 



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13 



ILLUMINATION IN FOOTCANDLES AT VARIOUS DISTANCES 
FROM COOL WHITE OR WARM WHITE FLUORESCENT LAMPS^ 







FLUORESCENT 






Distance 
from 
Lamp 


FC12T10 


F40-U 
0=0 


40 Watt U- 
F40-U 


Lamp' 


I 

2-F40-U 


Feet 


0—0 





0.5 
1 

2 
3 


330 

140 

45 

20 


150 
50 

25 


240 
80 
40 




300-400 

100-200 

50-100 






Standard 40 Watt Tl 2^ 








2-F40 
1 1 



2-F40 


4-F40 




6-F40 




^0 0^ 


10 01 


lo 


01 


0.5 
1 

2 
3 
4 


500 

260 (200) 

110 (100) 

60 (60) 

40 


700 

400 (260) 
180 (150) 
100 (90) 
60 


900 
600 
330 

100 




1000 
700 
450 

140 






1500 MA Tl 2X17'^ 








2-F48 


4-F48 
1 1 1 1 



1 1 



6-F48 
1 1 1 1 




1 900 1700 2000 
2 400 740 1100 

INCANDESCENT INCANDESCENT 

Standard Lamp PAR-38 



40 W 60 W 75 W 150 W 



1 34 (17) 67 (33) 

2 8 (7) 17 (13) 

3 4 (3) 7 (7) 
4 

5 (double values with 

6 reflectors) 



375 


(40) 


383 


(80) 


167 


(40) 


216 


(110) 


94 


(50) 


138 


(90) 


60 


(40) 


96 


(70) 



Values in parenthesis are footcandles one foot on either side of lamp perpendicular to 
distance below lamps. 
Bottom views. 
End views. 
End views. 



14 



RELATIVE LIGHT AND VISIBLE RADIATION 
OUTPUT OF 40-WATT LAMPS 



40-Watt Lamp 
type Fluorescent 



Percent Lumens 



Percent 

Visible Radiation 



Cool White 

Warm White 

Plant Growth 

Wide Spectrum - 

Color Rendering 

Index (CRI) 90 or above 



100 


100 


100 


100 


32 to 60 


70 to 80 


60 to 70 


75 to 85 



Fluorescent tubes should be 
replaced periodically when they are 
significantly dimmer than new lamps. 
For standard lamps (400^50 MA) 
this will be 1 or 2 years when oper- 
ated 15 hours a day. For 1500 MA 
lamps replacement each year is rec- 
ommended. 

Some lamps will become dimmer 
in less time while other lamps may 
last longer. Keep extra lamps on 
hand for replacement. Remember 
that a fixture for two lamps will not 
operate with only one lamp. Stagger 
lamp replacement over a period of 
several weeks to avoid abrupt 
changes in light level. For the first 4 
or 5 days new lamps may be up to 
one-fifth brighter than they will be 
subsequently. 

It is important to know the dif- 
ferent ways that plants respond to the 
variety of lamps that may be 
employed. (See table "Lamps And 
Plant Response" on p. 16 for this 
information.) 

Light Conversion 

It is important to use equal energy 
when converting from one light 
source to another. Living spaces are 
lit with natural available light and 



with many different kinds of lamps. 
Fluorescent and incandescent lamps 
are the types most frequently used. 
Each lamp has a different visible 
spectrum. To convert from one lamp 
source to another, use the table "Ap- 
propriate Foot-Candles For Equal 
Radiant Energy" on p. 20. 

Lighting Fixtures 

Standard fluorescent lighting fix- 
tures or luminaires are most easily 
utilized. Strip or channel fixtures or 
general lighting fixtures can be used 
as shown in the plans. Four-foot 
lamps, or the U-lamp (slightly less 
than 2 feet overall in length) are easy 
to employ. 

Electrical connections require a 
three-prong plug both for safety and 
positive operation of the lamps. 
Ungrounded fixtures or lamps 
without grounded metal reflectors 
may not operate reliably. Especially 
noisy fixtures may require ballast 
replacement. 

Components, available at electrical 
supply stores, can be wired when 
standard fixtures are not convenient. 
(Always have qualified persons install 
the wiring and make sure the wiring 
meets the local and National Elec- 



15 



LAMPS AND PLANT RESPONSE 



Lamp 



Plant Response 



Fluorescent - Cool White (CW) 
and Warm White (WW). 



Green foliage expands parallel to 

the surface of the lamp. 

Stems elongate slowly. 

Multiple side shoots develop. 

Flowering occurs over a long period of time. 



Fluorescent - Gro Lux (GL) 
Plant Lights (PL). 



Deep-green foliage which expands, often larger 

than on plants grown under CW or WW. 

Stem elongates very slowly, extra thick stems 

develop. 

Multiple side shoots develop. 

Flowering occurs late, flower stalks do not 

elongate. 



Fluorescent - Gro Lux-WS 
(GL-WS), Vita-lite (VITA), 
Agro-lite (AGRO) and Wide 
Spectrum lamps. 



Light-green foliage which tends to ascend 

toward the lamp. 

Stems elongate rapidly, distances 

between the leaves. 

Suppresses development of multiple 

side shoots. 

Flowering occurs soon, flower stalks 

elongated, plants mature and age rapidly. 



High Intensity Discharge - 
Deluxe Mercury (HG) or 
Metal halide (MH). 



Similar to CW & WW fluorescent lamps 

compared on equal energy. 

Green foliage which expands. 

Stems elongate slowly. 

Multiple side shoots develop. 

Flowering occurs over a long 

period of time. 



High Intensity Discharge 
High pressure sodium 
(HPS). 



Similar to Gro Lux and other color 

improved fluorescent compared on equal energy. 

Deep-green foliage which expands, often 

larger than on plants grown under H and MH. 

Stems elongate very slowly, extra thick 

stems develop. 

Multiple side shoots develop. 

Flowering occurs late, flower stalks 

do not elongate. 



16 



LAMPS AND PLANT RESPONSE 



Lamp 



Plant Response 



High Intensity Discharge - 
Low Pressure Sodium (LPS) 



• Extra deep-green foliage, bigger and 
thicker than on plants grown under 
other light sources. 

• Stem elongation is slowed, very 
thick stems develop. 

• Multiple side shoots develop even 
on secondary shoots. 

• Flowering occurs, flower stalks 
do not elongate. 

Exceptions: Saintpaulias, lettuce, and Impatiens 
must have supplemental sunlight or incandescent 
to insure development of chlorophyll and 
reduction of stem elongation. 



Incandescent (INC) and 
Incandescent-Mercury 
(INC-HG) 



• Paling of foliage, thinner and longer 
than on plants grown under light sources. 

• Stem elongation is excessive, eventually become 
spindly and easily breaks. 

• Side shoot development is suppressed, 
plants expand only in height. 

• Flowering occurs rapidly, the plants 
mature and senescence takes place. 

Exceptions: Rosette and thick-leaved plants 
such as Sansevieria may maintain themselves 
for many months. The new leaves which 
eventually develop will elongate and 
will not have the typical characteristics 
of the species. 



trical Code.) The components neces- 
sary are — 

• Lampholders. Two are required 
for each lamp. (U-tubes require spe- 
cial lampholders available at elec- 
trical supply stores.) 

• Ballast. This is a built-in power 
regulator. 

• Wire. Insulated, heat-resistant 
type. 

• Metal enclosure. This will house 
the ballast and the wiring to the 
lampholders. 



Automatic Timers 

Plants need light for 8 to 12 hours 
a day. Use an automatic timer to con- 
trol the length of illumination. Do 
not depend on your memory to turn 
on the lamps at the proper time. 

An automatic timer is available at 
hardware and electrical stores. The 
timer can be set to turn the lamps on 
and off at any time. For 16 hours of 
light, you can set it to turn on at 6 
a.m. and off at 10 p.m. 



17 



256-376 O - 78 



Light Levels 

Light level determines the types of 
plants that can be grown. Recom- 
mended light levels for plants are 
given in foot-candles (fc). A foot- 
candle is a unit of illumination equal 



to the amount of light thrown by one 
standard candle on a surface 1 foot 
away. 

Plants will grow in higher light 
levels than the preferred levels to be 
mentioned, but they will not survive 
below minimum levels of light. 




PN-5264 
Free-standing light shell (Plan E) permits the 
display of plants in various size containers. 



In sunlight: 

Low designates a minimum light 
level of 12 foot-candles and a pre- 
ferred level of 35 to 100 foot-candles. 

Medium designates a minimum of 
35 foot-candles and a preferred level 
of 100 to 250 foot-candles. 

High designates a minimum of 100 
foot-candles and a preferred level of 
250 foot-candles. 

Very High designates a minimum 
of 500 foot-candles and a preferred 
level of over 500 foot-candles. 

Using Artificial Light with cool 
white fluorescent lamps as the stan- 
dard: 

Low designates a minimum light 
level of 25 foot-candles and a pre- 
ferred level of 75 to 100 foot-candles. 

Medium designates a minimum of 
75 to 100 foot-candles and a pre- 
ferred level of 200 to 500 foot-can- 
dles. 

High designates a minimum of 200 
foot-candles and a preferred level of 
500 foot-candles. 

Very High designates a minimum 
of 1000 foot-candles and a preferred 
level of over 1000 foot-candles. 

Measuring Light Levels 

If the natural light in the living 
space is insufficient to maintain the 
plants then artificial light must be 
used. To determine if adequate light 
exists, it is necessary to use a light 
meter. 

Models, typically, have several 



11 



"^ 




56" 



19" 



,-^ 



INSIDE AND OUTSIDE 
SURFACES COVERED 
WITH 
REFLECTIVE FOIL 




Free-standing light shell (Plan E) is suitable for halls, foyers, kitchens, and playrooms. 



19 



ranges, such as from 10 to 50 foot- 
candles, 50 to 250 foot-candles, and 
200 to 1000 foot-candles with an X- 
10 multiplying cover. 

Such meters are worked by posi- 
tioning their tops parallel to the sur- 
face being measured for light. Then 
the switch position is shifted from 
high to medium to low to determine 
the intensity of light measured in 
foot-candles. Several readings should 
be taken and the results averaged to 



determine the proper light meas- 
urement. 

Photographic light meters are not 
fully satisfactory for measuring plant 
lighting because the lighting con- 
versions and corrections required are 
complex due to spectral variations 
and vary with various meters. How- 
ever, they can be used to determine 
relative levels of daylight or incan- 
descent light. 

The purchase of a light meter 



Appropriate Foot-candles' for Equal Radiant Energy 
(Visible 400-850 nm) for Selected Lamps 



Lamp 




fc 


fc 


fc 


fc 


Fluorescent 












Cool White 


CW 


100 


200 


500 


1000 


Warm White 


WW 


105 


210 


525 


1050 


Gro-Lux, Plant Light 


GRO 


47 


94 


235 


470 


Gro-Lux-WS 


GRO/WS 


68 


136 


340 


680 


Agro-lite 


AGRO 


74 


148 


370 


740 


Vita-lite 


VITA 


80 


160 


400 


800 


Discharge 












Mercury (all types) 


HG 


108 


216 


540 


1080 


Metal Halide 


MH 


87 


174 


435 


870 


High-Pressure Sodium 


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176 


440 


880 


Low-Pressure Sodium 


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274 


685 


1370 


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70 


175 


350 


Incandescent-Mercury 


INC-HG 


50 


100 


250 


500 


Sunlight: 












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53 


106 


265 


530 


Summer 




55 


110 


273 


546 



'Tne foot-candle readings given in the Plant Guide are based on Cool White fluorescent lamps. 
Note that when the table lists 100 fc of Cool White fluorescent, it requires 53 fc from 
sunlight, 1 05 fc from Warm White, 47 fc from Gro-Lux, 68 fc from Gro-Lux-WS to give equal energy 
and equal effectiveness for lighting plants. Check with a lighting engineer to find out what 
kind of artificial lamps are used to light the space. 



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PN-5265 
Tall, narrow garden (Plan F) offers the flex- 
ibility of movable shelves and will permit 
the starting and growing of many small 
plants. 



especially designed for measuring 
artificial lighting is recommended. 

Other pointers to remenjber when 
taking light readings with a meter: 

• Pick a day when it is sunny. 

• Adjust curtains to their usual 
daytime position. Drawn curtains, 
whether sheer or opaque, greatly alter 
the light level. 

Some plants will not do well 
indoors. These plants are sun lovers, 
and though the lamps in the indoor 
garden are bright, they are still pale 
and weak when compared to the sun. 
The midday summer sun produces 
5,000 to 10,000 foot-candles of light, 



which is very bright compared to 
indoor lighting. 

SELECTING A LOCATION 

The best place to put an indoor 
garden is where the temperature 
during the day is about 75° F. and 
the temperature during the night is 
about 65° F. 

Avoid locations near heating ducts, 
exhaust fans, or doorways to the out- 
side. Air from heating ducts heats 
and dries the plants. Cold air and 
drafts from exhaust fans and outside 
doors may chill the plants. 

It is a good idea to avoid placing 
planters in heavy traffic areas in the 
home. Not only is the planter often in 
the way where traffic is heavy, but 
plants in the garden are likely to be 
damaged by passing traffic. 

Wherever it is used, an indoor 
garden will light the ceiling and walls 
as well as the plants. This extra light 
may be welcome; it may serve as the 
secondary source of illumination for 
the room. But it may be 
unwelcome — producing glare, rather 
than brightness. Indoor light levels of 
only 1,000 foot-candles can disturb 
the eyes of some people. Screening 
the lights with foliage will reduce 
glare. Directed glare can be avoided 
through the use of shields and by 
careful location of the lights. 

STOCKING THE GARDEN 

The degree of satisfaction that your 
garden brings you depends, more 
than anything else, on your selection 
of plants for it — plants that are both 
attractive and adaptable to growing 
indoors. Your skill in arranging the 
plants that you select can add to your 
enjoyment of the garden. 



22 



Plants should not be planted 
directly in the indoor garden; they 
should be potted and the pots set in 
the garden. This method of handling 
the plants allows you to rearrange 
your garden periodically. 

You can use seasonal plants in 
your garden — poinsettias at 
Christmas, azaleas or tulips at Valen- 
tine's Day, lilies at Easter, 
hydrangeas for Mother's Day, potted 



annuals during summer, or potted 
chrysanthemums in fall. Your garden 
should never remain static; it would 
soon become unattractive. 

Plant Guide 

The guide (p. 26) lists three points 
to consider in selecting decorative 
plants for the indoor garden — size of 
the mature plant, light level needed 




3/4" PLYWOOD 
1"x4" BASE 



Tall, narrow garden (Plan F) with movable shelves is 6 feet tall and 2 feet square. 



23 




PN-5266 
Triangular planter (Plan G) is suitable for 
lighting plants of different heights and 
diameters. 



Floor plant designates plants that 
grow 2 to 6 feet tall. They are used 
separately or in a grouping — often as 
a room divider or a screen. 

Pot plant designates a wide range 
of plants of varying sizes that grow in 
different size pots, up to 8 inches in 
diameter. 

Terrarium plant designates plants 
that have relatively small leaves and 
can be grown in a closed bottle, 
aquarium, or jar. They are used in a 
grouping, intermixing plants with dif- 
ferent colors and shapes of leaves. 

Hanging plant designates plants 
that can be trained to cascade from 
hanging baskets. Many of these 
plants can be vining types; other 
plants, because of their growth 
habits, may be adapted to this special 
use. 

These pot plants can be used sepa- 
rately, double-potted in waterproof 
containers, or lined up in a planter 
box giving the impression of plants 
growing directly in the box. 



for healthy plant growth, and the 
water requirement. 

The list of plants is not all inclu- 
sive. Plants are listed that are avail- 
able through usual supply sources 
and have been grown successfully in 
many homes. Hobbyists may enjoy 
trying other plants. 

Plant Designations 

Tree designates plants that grow as 
a single plant in a container, 
minimum size 3 feet, maximum size 
often to the ceiling. 

These tall plants may eventually 
have to be air-layered (see p. 47), cut 
back to force growth of side shoots, 
or be given to someone who has more 
space. 



Setting The Plants 

Support large potted plants by set- 
ting them on other clay pots that are 
upended in the bottom of the planter 
box. Fill in around the upended pots 
with coarse gravel to a depth of 3 or 
4 inches. Then fill the rest of the box 
around the potted plants with 
unmilled sphagnum moss, pea-size 
gravel, or marble chips. Small potted 
plants can be plunged directly into 
the sphagnum, pea gravel, or marble. 

Although the fluorescent lamps 
used in the garden are not as hot as 
incandescent lamps, they generate 
enough heat to harm plants that 
come in contact with them. There- 
fore, keep all plants at least 6 inches 
away from the lamps. 



24 




RIGID 

ACRYLIC 

TUBE 



24" 



RUBBER 
BUMPER 

RECESSED 
SCREW 




TIMER 



METAL PLATE 



Plan G.— Triangular planter consists of one U-shaped fluorescent lamp mounted on a triangular 

platform. 



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31 




PN-5267 
Angular table planter (Plan H) permits the lighting of a long platform displaying many plants. 



V4" PLASTIC 
PANELS 



EDGES OF 

PLASTIC 

HINGE MATERIAL 




Plan H.— Angular table planter mounts two U-shaped fluorescent lamps and is backed by plexi- 
glass mirrors. 



32 



CARE OF THE GARDEN 

After you have selected plants that 
grow well indoors, your success in 
growing them depends primarily on 
the care you give them. You should 
water the plants thoroughly but infre- 
quently, fertilize them periodically, 
and illuminate them adequately and 
regularly. 

TRAINING PLANTS 

Knowing what constitutes an 
adjusted or conditioned plant enables 
you to exert maximum control over 



its growth. Your plant has no native 
ability to live in the surroundings you 
have picked for it — whether home, 
office, or public area. It needs to be 
trained to adjust to its aUen environ- 
ment. 

To aid in this adjustment, you 
must — 

• Slow down plant growth. 

• Permit leaves to get accustomed 
to dark, dry conditions in the area 
where the plant is to be placed. 

• Permit the plant to accumulate 
mineral ions and carbohydrates to 
help maintain itself during periods of 
stress. 




Offlce planter (Plan I) is designed to light a restricted area of plants. 



PN-5268 



33 




PN-5269 
Window-on-the-wall planter (Plan J) allows the display of large, growth plants in the home. 



These procedures will assure a con- 
ditioned plant; they require much 
patience, but they are well worth the 
effect. 

Conditioned Plants 

A conditioned plant has the fol- 
lowing characteristics— 

• All the foliage is dark green, 
thick, and plush looking. 

• The foliage is green all the way 
to the soil line. 

• Growth is slowed and, con- 
sequently, few or no new leaves are 
showing. The little growth that does 
show is dark green. The stem at the 
top of the plant is thick in diameter. 

• The net of roots is well estab- 
lished and fills most of the pot, cov- 
ering the whole surface of the soil 
ball. 

There are certain things you can do 



at the beginning that will make for 
well-adjusted or conditioned plants. 
Here are some points to keep in 
mind — 

Choosing plants. — The plant you 
pick depends on your taste, space 
available, and use. Every plant 
should be potted individually. It is 
almost impossible to train plants 
when they are potted together. 

Washing and cleaning plants. — All 
plants except those with hairy-sur- 
faced leaves (African violets and 
begonias) should be washed in warm 
soapy water of bath temperature, 
about 90° to 100° F. Wash all leaves, 
stems, and buds. Clean both sides of 
leaves. Be sure to support each indi- 
vidual leaf with your hand while 
doing this. Rinse with water, shake, 
and allow to dry overnight in the sink 
or on a newspaper. This procedure 
removes dirt, insect eggs, and 



34 



insecticides. Repeat at frequent inter- 
vals to bring out the natural shine of 
the foliage. 

Locating training area. — Pick a 
spot with bright light, but avoid 
places where direct sunlight shines on 
the leaves. Keep plants away from 
drafts, heating ducts, or open doors. 
Place them on a waterproof area; this 
may be a wooden frame covered with 
polyethylene which is then covered 
with a layer of coarse gravel or sand. 



Or use colorful inexpensive plastic 
trays, tubs, pans, and basins. Take 
care not to scar the underside of these 
containers — it ruins the water- 
proofing. 

Buying fertilizer. — Since plants 
need at least 12 elements for growth, 
buy a complete fertilizer. The label 
should list the major ingredients: 
nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, 
and a mixture of trace elements. 

Some gardeners prefer a liquid fer- 




PLASTIC 
DIFFUSER 



Plan J.— Window-on-the-wall planter is made from a ceiling fixture turned on its side. Its fluo- 
rescent lamps are covered with a translucent plastic panel. 



35 




PN-5270 
The Garden Center (Plan K) provides extra 
space for such gardening aids as growing 
media, containers, and fertilizer in its 
bottom folding panel. 



tilizer that is easy to mix and whose 
concentration can be adjusted. The 
elements in a good fertilizer are 
immediately available to the plant. 

Low but more frequent applica- 
tions of fertilizer help sustain growth 
better than high rates. Do not over 
fertilize because it promotes soft 
growth. (See "General Care" section 
on p. 37.) 

Water requirements. — After you 
have provided the plant with light, a 
waterproof area, and fertilizer, you 
must determine how much water the 
container, soil, and root system will 
hold. It is essential to know how 
many ounces or cups of water the 
plant medium will require. 

The soil and roots are a mass filled 
with pore spaces; it is best to add the 
water until the area is filled and 
everything is moist. Leave no excess 
water standing. Mark on a label the 
amount used. 

To be absolutely certain of the 
plant's water requirements use the 
following method. Buy a large plastic 



or metal funnel and mark the 1, 2, 
and 3-cup lines inside. Plunge the 
funnel into the soil and fill with a 
measured amount of water. Leave the 
funnel in place overnight. Continue 
to add water until no additional 
water enters the growing medium. 
The soil medium will hold water by 
gravity, but will not hold any excess. 
Note the amount each container 
needs. From then on you can auto- 
matically calculate the correct 
amount of water. (See "General 
Care" section on p. 37.) 

Training tips. — When plants 
require water they begin to change 
from dark to light green and become 
flaccid. Start to train your plant by 
watering it every third day to satur- 
ation as described under "Water 
requirements." Then begin to delay 
the time that you would normally 
water it. 

Watering periods are best noted on 
a calendar, keeping in mind the mois- 
ture requirements in the table on p. 
26. With this procedure, you permit 
the medium to become a little dryer 
and slow down top growth, while 
maintaining an active root system. 

It takes at least 3 months for most 
plants to adjust their growth. Not all 
plants can be managed this way. 
Some, like violets, must be watered 
almost daily and never permitted to 
dry. 

Adjusting light levels. — At first, 
keep the plant away from the window 
in a darker part of the room. After 3 
to 6 months, move it to the desired 
location to light levels as listed on the 
table on p. 26. 

Keeping plants in shape. — Check 
your plants every 3 months to keep 
them in shape. Maintain a definite 
water and fertilizer schedule for best 
growth. Also keep a regular schedule 



36 



for pruning, removing dead leaves, 
and for staking. 

Planning for replacements. — 
Remember to plan for replacements. 
In time, all plants become root bound 
in pots and overgrown in size. The 
medium becomes filled with roots 
and depleted of organic matter. 
When there's no more room for the 
plants it is time to try new plants and 
new combinations. 



GENERAL CARE 
Watering 

Of all steps in the care of an indoor 
garden, watering is most important. 
If plants do not get enough water, 
they dry out and die. If they get too 
much water, they drown or rot. The 
proper procedure is to water thor- 
oughly, but only often enough to pre- 




plan K.— The Garden Center is a free-standing gardening area which utilizes both lamps and mir- 
rors to provide uniform illumination. 



37 



OPTIONAL 
FAN 



2-40 WATT BALLAST 
120 VOLT 60 HZ 



BLACK 



120 VAC WHITE 



TIME 
CLOCK 



^— 4- 



r 



WHITE 



BALLAST 



BLUE 



BLUE 



C 



U-TUBES OR 
STD. 40 W 



RED 



RED 



Wiring diagram is for two 40-watt standard or U-tubes. Wiring should conform to national elec- 
tric and local codes. 



vent wilting. Specific water require- 
ments are given in the plant guide on 
p. 26. 

As soon as you put plants in the 
garden, begin adjusting them to their 
new indoor environment. Water the 
soil, clay pot, and surrounding media 
to saturation. But do not flood the 
planter box. 

Allow the whole garden to dry 
until the plants are near wilting. You 
can detect wilting early by watching 
the leaves; they change from green to 
gray-green and begin to droop. 

When the plants begin to wilt, 
water them thoroughly again. 



While plants are adjusting to the 
indoors, some of the oldest leaves 
may yellow. If so, remove them. 
Wash the remaining leaves with 
warm soapy water, rinse with clear 
water, and stake the plants. They 
should now be ready for a long life in 
the indoor garden. 

Set up a schedule for watering. If 
you are combining plants with dif- 
ferent water requirements, label each 
type with small plastic tags. For 
example, green tags could be used for 
plants needing frequent watering 
(wet), yellow tags for less frequent 
watering (moist), and so on. 



38 



SPHAQNUM MOSS 




Pots in the planter box are raised to a uniform 
level. Space between them is filled with 
unmilled spaghnum moss. 



Dry plants need watering every 10 
to 14 days. These plants tend to have 
coarse roots and are well adapted to 
dark and dry conditions. They can be 
trained to withstand prolonged 
periods of slowed growth which 
delays rate of leaf formation, pre- 
vents death of old leaves, and helps 
retain the size of the plant. More fre- 
quent watering will cause new leaves 
to grow at a rapid rate, and usually 
an old leaf will die for every new leaf 
formed. Less frequent watering will 
cause many leaves to die. 

Moist plants need watering every 4 
to 7 days. These plants tend to have a 
fine root system that will die immedi- 
ately if the soil dries out. More fre- 
quent or less frequent watering will 
cause same results as for "dry" plants. 

Wet plants need watering every 
other day. They must have a rela- 
tively uniform amount of water in the 
growing media at all times. Even one 
period of drying usually means 
damage to the leaves and the possi- 
bility that the plant will die even- 
tually. Do not let potted plants stand 
in saucers holding water. 

Wet moss on the surface of the 
planter tends to raise the relative 



humidity of the air around the plants 
as moisture evaporates from it. This 
high humidity is beneficial to the 
plants. 

Do not bother syringing the plants 
to raise the humidity. Syringing 
seldom is effective; the humidity 
remains high only for a few minutes. 
And there is danger of spilling water 
on furnishings in the room. 

When you are watering, do not get 
water on the lamps, fixtures, or 
planter. 
More information on watering: 

• Germinating seeds and seedlings 
may need daily watering. Seedlings 
have very fine, sensitive root systems 
that dry out easily, particularly under 
the heat of artificial light. Check soil 
daily to prevent drying and damage. 

• Water temperature is unim- 
portant for most plants because water 
quickly reaches temperature of sur- 
rounding area. However, the leaves 
of African violets may lose green 
color (chlorophyll) if water tem- 
perature is even 15° warmer or colder 
than leaf temperature. Avoid 
splashing water on the foliage. Plants 
take up water through roots, not 
through stems or leaves. 




Plastic funnel used as aid in watering. 



39 



• You can use drinking water 
directly from the faucet for most 
plants, but some plants (such as ferns 
and African violets) are sensitive to 
the chlorine in the water. For these, 
allow water to stand overnight before 
using; chlorine escapes into the atmo- 
sphere while the water is standing. 

• If water is unacceptable to a 
person when judged by taste, color, 
and smell it will not be acceptable to 
plants. 

• Do not reuse water drained from 
plants. This water does not have the 
oxygen that plants need and it may 
contain disease organisms and 
unused salts that will damage plant 
roots. 

Fertilizing 

Water and fertilize plants at the 
same time to insure proper uptake of 
nutrients and distribution throughout 
the growing media. Usually adding 
fertilizer every third or fourth time 
(every 2 to 4 weeks) you water is suf- 
ficient to maintain good growth. 

Use a water-soluble fertilizer at the 
strength recommended on the label. 
Fertilize only when plants are actively 
growing. 

Even when you use soluble fertil- 
izers, you may notice an accumu- 
lation of fertilizer on the surface of 
the soil; it will be a white, crusty 
deposit. This deposit should be 
removed, along with a little of the 
surface soil, and replaced with new 
soil. 

SPECIAL GARDENING 
Terra riums 

Select plants which are compatible 
as to growing media, light, and mois- 
ture needs. Clean all foliage and 



scrub surfaces with vegetable brush 
to remove dust, disease, and insect 
debris. Healthy plants must be 
chosen if the terrarium is to thrive. 

The container chosen for the ter- 
rarium must be both clear and water- 
proof. One can use candy jars, aquar- 
iums, condiment or beverage jars, or 
bottles of any size. Wash the con- 
tainer and remove all labels and 
traces of the previous contents. Allow 
them to dry completely before begin- 
ning the terrarium. Remember that 
all things that go into the construc- 
tion of a terrarium should be dry. 
Leave all items out to dry at least 
overnight; this will make assembly of 
the terrarium much easier and permit 
quick cleanup at the end. 

The following items will be neces- 
sary to create a terrarium: (1) a con- 
tainer, (2) coarse sphagnum moss for 
bottom layer, (3) pasteurized potting 
mix, (4) cuttings and rooted plants, 
(5) a long stick of pencil diameter to 
handle plants, and (6) a wash bottle. 

When all material has been assem- 
bled, do the following — 

• Put a thin layer of moss on the 
bottom of the bottle. Firm with a 
stick to make a slanting base. The 
depth of the layer depends on bottle 
size; 1/2 to 3/4-inch is usually deep 
enough for most bottles. 

• Put at least 1/2 to 3/4-inch of 
potting mix over the coarse moss. 
Use stick to level and firm up the 
structure of the potting mix. 

• Select plants and try to blend 
their shape, foliage color, and height. 
Carefully remove most of the potting 
mix from the plants. Trim all roots 2 
to 3 inches and remove all diseased or 
damaged foUage or branches. 

• Group the plants outside the 
bottle first to decide on arrangement. 



40 




PN-5274 



Containers of many different shapes and sizes can be used for terrariums. 



Use stick to guide each plant into the 
bottle. 

• Fan out the roots on the potting 
mix and shift dry potting mix over 
them; firm them into place with the 
stick. Tap and shake the bottle to 
force the growing media to shift 
down between the foliage. Starting at 
the back of the terrarium, add one 
plant at a time, firming all plants and 
media into place with the stick. 

• Move the foliage and branches 
around to face in one direction with 
the stick. Working slowly, use stick 
to slide pieces of ground moss or 
painted gravel into place to cover the 
bottom of the bottle. Make sure all 
surfaces are still dry — it should be 
easy to move, place, and clean up 
inside of the terrarium. 



• Water the terrarium by using a 
wash bottle or a thin plastic tube. 
Allow water to flow down the inside 
of the bottle, gently and slowly 
moisten coarse moss, potting mix, 
and covering. Do not sprinkle foliage 
or add so much water that you can 
see water standing in the bottom. If 
the terrarium is put together prop- 
erly, you should be able to tilt the ter- 
rarium to allow the excess water to 
drain out. 

• When the terrarium is finished, 
place it in a cool, lightly shaded area. 
Leave top off the bottle and allow all 
surfaces — foliage, media, bottle — to 
thoroughly air dry. To clean sides of 
the bottle use paper towelling on the 
stick. Look for damaged or dying 
leaves and remove them. 



41 




PN-5273 
Terrarium plants should be carefully watered using a wash bottle or a thin plastic tube. Never 
water to the point where it will stand at the bottom. 



Leave the bottle open for several 
days to correct the relative humidity. 
Place top on bottle but do not seal. 
Sealed bottles will cause plants to rot; 
a slight exchange of oxygen and 
carbon dioxide is necessary for the 
terrarium to survive. 

Display the terrarium by placing it 
anywhere in the naturally lighted area 
of the home. Do not place it where it 
will be subjected to direct sunlight or 
near a heating or cooling duct. To 
render the bottle scar proof paste a 
piece of felt on the bottom with 
rubber cement. 

Terrariums require little care. If 
everything has been done properly 
then a balanced environment will 



have been created and water loss will 
be minimal. Signs that the terrarium 
needs water are foliage that crinkles 
at the edges and bottom moss that 
turns from dark to light brown. As 
before, use wash bottle or fine tubing 
to flow water down the sides of the 
bottle; remember to add water until 
all surfaces are moistened but allow 
no excess water to stand in the 
bottom of the bottle. Turn the bottle 
upside down to permit all excess 
water to drain away. 

Do not fertilize the plants at first. 
Fertilizing promotes excessive growth 
which will rapidly fill the bottle. 
After 6 to 9 months add regular 
house-plant type fertilizer using at 



42 



least one-quarter of the concentration 
recommended for ordinary house 
plants. 

Eventually, plants will overgrow 
the space alloted them. When this 
occurs, chemically prune the tips of 
the plants by touching the growing 
point with a swab dipped in rubbing 
alcohol. Only the tips will die after 
this treatment and side branches will 
develop. 

One should expect no more than a 
useful life of 1 year for plants in a ter- 
rarium. Poor plants should be dis- 
carded after this period and the 
remaining plants used again in 
another terrarium. 

Plants that make good natural 
groupings in terrariums are cacti and 
succulents, native understory plants, 
and small-leave house plants. Do not 
mix types because they have different 
media, water, and light level require- 
ments. Easy-to-handle plants are: Be- 
gonia, Birds-nest fern. Boxwood, 
Calathea, Chamaedorea palm, Chlo- 
rophytum (Spider plant), Euonymus 
(Creeper), Fittonia, Gynura (Velvet 
plant), Hedera (English ivy), Hemi- 
graphis. Maidenhair fern, Maranta 
(Prayer plant), Peperomias, Pilea 
(Aluminum plant), Scindapsus 
(Devil's ivy), Tradescantia, and Ze- 
brina. 

Hanging Baskets 

The highest levels of light found in 
most rooms occur near or at the top 
of the windows. Hanging baskets 
permit indoor gardeners to utilize this 
light to grow the wide range of plants 
listed in the plant guide on p. 26. 

To grow plants in hanging baskets 
take the following steps. — 

Container. — Use any type of con- 
tainer that will hold at least 2 quarts 



of growing media by volume. Con- 
tainers with less volume tend to dry 
out rapidly. Containers can be metal 
framed and lined with moss. Use 
bleach bottles that are available com- 
mercially, gallon-sized milk con- 
tainers, or redwood containers. 

Be sure to provide drainage holes 
in the container. Use a nail to drive 
holes that are three-eighths of an inch 
in diameter, spaced 3 inches apart 
near the bottom of the container. Tie 
a cord or hemp bag around the con- 
tainer to make it into a hanging 
basket. 

Hanging baskets are also available 
with self-adhering saucers. Thus, one 
can grow and water plants anywhere 
while preventing water drippings on 
furnishings. 

Growing media. — Bagged growing 
media is available in most variety and 
garden stores. These usually contain 
fertilizers in slow-release form. 

To make your own general-pur- 
pose mix use the following formula: 
To 2 parts of sandy loam soil add 1 
part coarse sphagnum peat moss and 
1 part coarse aggregate (vermiculite, 
perlite, or washed cinders). To each 
bushel of mix add 4 ounces of pul- 
verized dolomitic limestone, 4 ounces 
of 20 percent superphosphate, and 2 
ounces of 5-10-5 fertilizer. Mix thor- 
oughly and add just enough water to 
crumble the media in large masses; 
do not add so much water the media 
becomes soggy. 

Drainage. — Line the bottom 2 
inches of the container with coarse 
aggregate. Shield the drainage holes 
with coffee filters to hold the growing 
media in place until the new root 
system meshes into a solid mass. 
Pack the aggregate loosely to leave 
air pockets that will permit easy 
drainage of water out of the con- 



43 




PN-5272 
Containers for indoor gardening are as varied 
as the plants that may be grown in them. 



tainer. Cover the top of the aggregate 
with a half-inch layer of aggregate 
that has been finely crushed; this will 
prevent the growing media from 
plugging up the drainage holes. 
Fertilizer. — Fill container to within 

1 inch of the top with water-moist- 
ened growing media. Mix in 1 table- 
spoon of a coated, slow-release 14-14- 
14 fertilizer per 6-inch container. The 
volume of a 6-inch container is equal 
to 2 quarts of mix. This concen- 
tration of fertilizer should last for 
about 3 months; plan to add a second 
tablespoon on the surface about 2-1/ 

2 months after planting. Continue to 
fertilize at regular intervals 
throughout the life of the plant. 

Planting. — Hold the potted plant 
on its side with one hand protecting 
the plant. Tap the plant gently until 
the soil ball and plant falls out. 
Remove the network of roots on 
bottom of soil ball. Dig a hole in 
which the soil ball fits perfectly. The 
growing media of the soil ball and of 



the new container should be on the 
same level. Firm the soil ball and 
growing media to insure a good flow 
of water and the knitting of the root 
system. 

Location. — Plants, like petunias, 
that require at least 6 hours daily of 
direct sunlight should be placed in 
areas where they will be shaded for 
part of the day. They can be placed 
near a porch, in a window, or close to 
the entrance of your home. (Petunias 
grown in too much shade develop 
long, poorly-branched shoots with 
few if any flowers; petunias are 
adapted to bright, sunny situations 
where they develop stout, highly- 
branched shoots with abundant flow- 
ering and fruiting.) 

Watering. — When you water the 
plant, continue to add water until all 
areas of the growing media are thor- 
oughly moistened and excess water 
begins to drip from the drainage 
holes. This volume of water will be 
adequate if sufficient air space above 
the growing media and the top of the 
container has been provided. Note 
how much water has been added and 
apply the same volume next time. 

Acclimatization. — To promote 
abundant flowering and to prolong 
the flowering time, the plant must be 
acclimatized or "trained to survive" 
in its location. This is accomplished 
by watering frequency and controlled 
fertilizer levels. Examine the plant 
when freshly planted and do not 
water until the leaves change from 
dark to pale green, and have a wilting 
appearance. 

When watering the growing media 
keep water off the leaves. Do not 
water again until the plant shows 
signs of wilting; this treatment slows 
growth and will help the plant survive 
sudden changes in the environment. 



44 



Grooming. — To preserve the 
appearance of the plant pick off yel- 
lowing or damaged leaves and 
flowers. As the plant develops, 
remove some branches to prevent 
crowding and to promote the devel- 
opment of new flowering shoots. To 
expose all sides of the plant to the 
environment, turn the container at 
weekly intervals. This will help the 
symmetrical development of the plant 
and will balance out the effects of the 
different exposures. 

Plants For The Beginner 

The Peperomia obtusifolia (or pep- 
eromia plant) is a good plant for a 
beginner to experiment with, and is 
available in either a solid green or in 
various green and white com- 
binations. 

This plant requires minimum care 
and can be trained to go into a cab- 
inet, a dark corner in a hallway, or 
into a hanging waterproof basket. 
However, it will die rapidly if over- 
watered and overfertilized. It must be 
trained. The peperomia is from trop- 



ical South and Central America. Its 
fleshy leaves are about 4 inches long 
and 2-1/2 inches wide. It branches 
rapidly and its stems fall over the sur- 
face of the container. 

Another plant that is interesting to 
experiment with is the Spathiphyllum 
"Mauna Loa." This plant, originally 
from Columbia, has long, green, 
lance-shaped foliage that forms 
spathes (large, leaf-like parts 
enclosing a flower cluster) that are 2- 
1/2 inches long. The spadix (the 
fleshy spike of tiny flowers often 
enclosed in a spathe) is greenish- 
yellow to white. The plant is aesthetic 
to look at and throws interesting 
shadows around it giving the impres- 
sion of wide-open spaces. The plant 
must be kept moist at all times to sur- 
vive. 

The Ficus retusa nitida, small-leaf 
rubber tree from the Indian and 
Malayan tropics, can be easily han- 
dled by the novice. It can be trained 
to any form by pruning. It has dark- 
green foliage 2 to 4 inches long, and 
is available on the market as a 6-foot 
tree in poodle, screen, or fan forms. 



A Dozen Recommended Plants For Beginners 



Name of plant 



Light level 



water requirement 



Aechmea fasciata (Bromeliad) 
Aglaonema roebelinii (Pewter plant) 
Brassaia actinophylla (Schefflera) 
Chamaedorea elegans (Neanthe bella palm) 
DieJJenbachia amoena (Dumb cane) 
Dracaena fragrans (Com plant) 
Fatsiajaponica (Japanese aralia) 
Ficus elastica 'Decora (Rubber plant) 
Hoya carnosa (Wax plant) 
Maranta leuconeura (Prayer plant) 
Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis (Boston fern) 
Podocarpus macrophyllus 'Maki' (Podocarpus) 



medium 


moist 


low 


moist 


medium 


dry 


low 


moist 


medium 


dry 


low 


wet 


medium 


moist 


medium 


moist 


medium 


dry 


medium 


moist 


medium 


moist 


high 


moist 



45 



Unless trained, it rapidly loses its 
leaves. It should be watered about 
once a week. 

Other Care 

About once a week, turn each of 
the pots in the planter. This encour- 
ages even development of the plants 
and keeps them from rooting into the 
sphagnum moss through the drain 
hole of the pot. 

It plants get old, sick, or oversize, 
take them out of the planter and 
replace them with new, healthy, mod- 
erate-size plants. 

If you are having insect problems 
in your indoor garden follow the 
instructions in Home and Garden 
Bulletin No. 67, "Insects and Related 
Pests of House Plants." Single copies 
of this publication — prepared by the 
Agricultural Research Service — can 



While you're away 

Many house plants die while the 
owner is away from home on a vaca- 
tion or business trip. If you cannot 
get someone to care for your plants, 
cover the plants with a polyethylene 
sheet and tie it to the pot or box to 
prevent loss of moisture. Reduce the 
lighting to 8 hours a day. 

If you have time before leaving, 
you can train the plants to get along 
with a little water. If not, just give 
them a good drink, using the funnel 
method, before you leave. 

Plants usually can get along satis- 
factorily by themselves for about 2 
weeks. If you must be away for more 
than 2 weeks, you can expect to lose 
some of your plants, particularly 
flowering plants. 



Trade names are used in this publica- 
tion solely to provide specific infor- 
mation. Mention of a trade name 
does not constitute a guarantee of the 
product by the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture nor does it imply an 
endorsement by the Department over 
comparable products that are not 
named. 

be obtained free from your County 
Extension Agent or by writing to the 
Office of Governmental and Public 
Affairs, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 
20250. Send your request on a 
postcard. Be sure to include your ZIP 
Code. 

OTHER USES 

In addition to using your indoor 
garden for growing conventional 
house plants, you can use it for dis- 
playing plant collections such as 
mosses, ivies, orchids, or bonsai 
(dwarf plants). If you use the garden 
for orchids, surround it with a clear 
plastic-sheet material to hold in mois- 
ture and keep the humidity high. 

Or you may want to display potted 
plants from the florist — plants that 
you intend to discard after their 
flowers pass. Because many of their 
needs are met by the garden, these 
potted plants last considerably longer 
there then they would on a table or 
window sill. Actually, the plants may 
continue to grow in the garden. 

If you intend to use your garden 
exclusively for display of florist 
plants, you might have a metal pan 
made to fit over the floor of the 
planter. The pan should be 3 or 4 
inches deep and painted to match the 
planter. 



46 



Fill the pan with pea gravel or 
marble chips and set the plants in the 
gravel-filled pan. When you water the 
plants, let some of the water drain 
into the pan; evaporation from the 
gravel or marble chips will increase 
the humidity of the air around the 
plants. 

AIR LAYERING 

If you wish to propagate plants, 
you can try air layering for plants 
that have stiff or woody stems and 
eventually grow too tall to be attrac- 
tive. 

Do it this way. Attach the stem 
securely to a stake. Make an upward 
cut into the stem, separating the bark 
by inserting a small stick. Cover the 
cut area with a ball of moist, but not 
soggy, sphagnum moss. Then cover 
the moss with polyethylene film and 
tape it at each end to reduce water 
loss. 

Continue to grow the mother plant 
in the usual way. When you can see 
the roots in the moss, cut the rooted 
top off the mother plant and pot the 
rooting. 

Allow the mother plant to continue 
growing; new lateral branches often 




Steps in air layering. 



develop down the stem. You can air 
layer the same mother plant many 
times as new lateral shoots develop. 

MORE INFORMATION 

Single copies of this publication 
and Home and Garden Bulletin No. 
82, "Selecting and Growing House 
Plants," may be obtained free from 
your County Extension Agent or by 
writing to the Office of Governmental 
and Public Affairs, U.S. Department 
of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 
20250. Send your request on a 
postcard. Please include your ZIP 
code and your return address. 



47 



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